Dr. Les Greenberg

Emotion Focused Therapy – An Interview with Dr. Les Greenberg


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Les Greenberg, Ph.D., primary originator and developer of Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) runs the training clinic in affiliation with the York University Psychology Clinic (YUPC), a state-of-the-art community mental health and training center associated with the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Health at York University in Toronto. He is the author of numerous books, recognized as classics in the field, including Emotion in Psychotherapy (1987, with Jeremy Saffron) and Emotion-Focused Therapy: Coaching Clients to Work through Their Feelings (2002). According to Dr. Greenberg (2004), “Emotion is foundational in the construction of the self and a key determinant of self-organization.”

Dr. Greenberg and interviewer Dr. Lisa Firestone address a wide range of topics: people’s fear of expressing emotion, adaptive and maladaptive anger, vulnerability, self-compassion versus the harsh inner critic, methods for treating anxiety, and couples therapy. “Theoretically, when I say change emotion with emotion, the most fundamental way of looking at it is, in fear and shame you’re organized by your emotion to run away…in empowered anger, you’re organized to puff up and thrust forward…The anger changes the fear.” Dr. Greenberg sheds new light on how memories from the past can be “re-consolidated” during a therapy session. “We need to activate the old painful memory, introduce a new experience within 10 minutes or so and that’s likely to change your experience of the past.”


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